Wednesday, 8 October 2014

India elect to bowl against West Indies

KOCHI: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bowl against the West Indies in the first one-day international at Nehru Stadium on Wednesday.

India have picked three seamers, with Amit Mishra and Ravindra Jadeja forming the two-man spin attack.

After threatening to go on a strike ahead of the ODI series against India, the West Indies cricket team decided not to boycott the opening match though skipper Dwayne Bravo insisted that the side reserves the right to take the "best course of action" over an "unresolved" pay dispute with the Board.

Bravo came out for the toss to put an end to the speculation that the Caribbeans would boycott the series to protest against the contracts handed out to them by the West Indies Cricket Board.

"After much consideration, the West Indies players have decided to participate in the 1st One Day International against India. This decision should not in any way be construed as an acceptance by the players of the unreasonable terms and conditions put forward to us by WICB nor is it an acceptance of the purported new Memorandum of Understanding," Bravo said in a letter to Players' Association chief Wavell Hinds.

"The Players will not accept any agreement it has had no input in, did not give its consent to and which would infringe on its rights. We reserve all of our rights and intend to seek independent advice so as to establish the players best course of action," the letter, published by 'ESPNCricinfo', stated.

"...we wish to reiterate our position put forward to the WICB earlier, that we continue under the old structure until a new agreement is reached between the players and WICB. Neither the WICB nor the players would be in a disadvantageous position since this would have been mutually agreed by the parties. This we believe is a sensible and reasonable approach for all concerned."

Earlier, in an extraordinary turn of events, the team's tour of India was thrown into jeopardy after the aggrieved players threatened to go on strike over an acrimonious pay dispute with its parent body.

Barely a day before the series, the cricket team led by Dwayne Bravo shot off a letter to the West Indies Cricket Board and the Players Association, threatening to go on strike if the matter was not resolved.

The team had yesterday skipped the practice session, the pre-match press conference and the trophy unveiling ceremony as it held negotiations to diffuse the crisis after being handed contracts which would see their pay go down by approximately 75 per cent. The new contracts were given to the players after they reached India.

The players are also disgruntled with the West Indies Players Association president and chief executive Wavell Hinds for agreeing to the terms without consulting them.

According to reports, the players claimed Hinds "hoodwinked" them and did not take their inputs while signing a new MoU with West Indies Cricket Board last month, under which they would suffer a significant cut in their pay.

In a strongly-worded letter to WIPA and WICB, Bravo wrote: "We wish to make it very clear that should the players be forced to take matters into their own hands, we will not hesitate to take the appropriate action as we see fit. We will hold you and the WIPA Board, who support this process, liable."

"The players are of the view that as a matter of principle, we should not accept these conditions whereby we are being asked to play a series against India without any certainty of what are our obligations and what we will be playing for."

"...the players here in India are under tremendous stress and the team morale is at an all-time low. We believe that this present WIPA Executive under your leadership has failed to properly represent the best interest of ALL the players," Bravo wrote.

"Many are questioning whether there is now some "special relationship" between the WICB and WIPA which may be good for some but has not taken into account the whole picture resulting in the what may be seen as embarrassing and demonizing some players who represent the WI, yet signalling to public that this new purported agreement (MOU) is in the best interest of West Indies Cricket."

"As indicated in our earlier correspondence the reduction is unacceptable and as one of our members put it 'it is ridiculously insane' when one considers the massive cuts based on the information we have received."

Bravo also asked whether the WICB officials would agree to such massive pay cuts for themselves.

In response, the WICB issued a press release tendering its apology "to the fans, the BCCI and all other stakeholders should the first ODI be disrupted as a result of player action.

The Board said that the "the WICB is making every effort to ensure that it fulfils all its commitments and that cricket is played."

As per the new MoU, the players "understand" their Test, ODI and T20 fees "have been decreased by 75 per cent"; that they will receive "no compensation for the use of our rights. That has been decreased by 100 per cent"; and their ICC fees have been "decreased by close to 100 per cent".

The players said they were being kept in the dark about the "purported agreement". Bravo and his team-mates insisted that they want the old structure back as the new one is "significantly different from what we received in the past."

Meanwhile the WICB said in a statement: "It has also come to the WICB's attention that the some of the players could withdraw their services for the first ODI. The WICB deeply regrets this apparent eventuality, especially in light of the tedious and substantial work which went into the good faith negotiations to arrive at the new, historic CBA/MOU."

This is not first time that the players are locked in a pay dispute with the WICB. The players have threatened to go on strike in those instances as well but have ultimately come around after hectic negotiations.


India: MS Dhoni (Capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma.

West Indies: Dwayne Bravo (Capt.), Dwayne Smith, Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Andre Russell, Sulieman Benn, Ravi Rampaul, Jerome Taylor.

Stay updated on the go with The Times of India’s mobile apps. Click here to download it for your device.



Post a Comment